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Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Aloo Allam Pachimirchi Koora ~ Andhra Style Spicy Potato Curry

This aloo allam pachimirchi koora is a traditional, spicy potato preparation from Andhra. This tasty curry used to be the most common potato preparation in our home while growing up as we loved it. A ground paste of green chillies and ginger flavor the curry while a little squeeze of a lemon at the end perks up the curry. Soaked and squeezed tamarind paste can be used in lieu of lemon. 

This simple preparation is a 'no onion/garlic' curry and can be included in festive menu as well. Plantains, elephant yam (kanda gadda), taro root (chama gadda) and even eggplants can be prepared in a similar manner. Plantains or eggplants prepared in this fashion used to be a fixture on wedding menus as well, my mother mentions.

Traditionally chilis, ginger and rock salt were ground together in a stone grinder without adding any water. A food processor / blender can be used for the same. Grind more chilis than needed if not sure about their potency. Taste the curry and use only as much as needed. (The Serrano peppers I use are super hot and so, I used only a long one.)

Ingredients: (4 servings)
3 potatoes (2 cups cooked potato cubes)
A pinch of turmeric powder
1/2 inch piece of ginger 
1 big spicy serrano pepper or any green chili as needed
1 to 2 tbsp. oil 
1 tsp. split peas / chana dal
1 tsp. skinned black gram / urad dal
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
A sprig of curry leaves
Salt to taste
1 tsp. lemon juice or to taste

Directions:
* Peel and cube the potatoes. Pressure cook them for 2 or 3 whistles adding turmeric and enough water. (Or the potatoes can be scrubbed, cut into halves, cooked and then peeled.) Let the potatoes cool, mash them and keep aside. A few chunks of potatoes here and there is fine.
* Coarsely grind the green chili and ginger without adding any water. 
* Heat oil in a pan on medium flame and add split peas, black gram and mustard seeds. When split peas and black gram start to turn brownish, add curry leaves and stir once.
* Next add ground ginger - chili and stir for few seconds.
* Then add mashed potatoes, and salt and mix well. Cook for a couple of minutes and turn off the stove. 
* Add lemon juice to suit your taste and stir to combine. (In absence of lemon, tamarind can be used.)
* Serve warm with rice and a drizzle of ghee.

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This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon with the theme 'Dry Side Dishes'. Check the link to find out what other marathoners are cooking.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Kumror Chokka ~ Bengali Potato - Pumpkin Curry

Kumror chokka is a simple vegetarian side dish prepared braising chunks of sweet pumpkin and potatoes, with some black chickpeas thrown in. I had included this in my Bengali lunch thaali that I had posted a few months back. This 'no onion or garlic' dish is popular in Bengali households and used to be a fixture on wedding menus until a few decades ago. Panch phoran, the blend of mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, nigella seeds and fennel seeds is used in tempering. The addition of bhaja masala, a local spice blend and ghee make the simply curry a flavorful one. This dish pairs well with luchi / rotis. 

Recipe source: Here
Ingredients:
A handful of black chickpeas, soaked overnight
1 big potato, peeled and cubed
1.5 to 2 cups cubed pumpkin
2 tsp. mustard oil or oil of your choice
1 tsp. panch phoran / Bengali five spices
1 red chili
1 bay leaf
A pinch of asafoetida
1 tsp. grated ginger / 1/2 tsp. ginger paste
Salt to taste
A pinch of turmeric powder
1/4 tsp. chili powder or to taste
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. bhaja masala
2 tsp. ghee
Directions:
* Soak black chickpeas / kala chana overnight and drain the water in the morning. Pressure cook adding water for 3 whistles and keep aside.
* Heat oil in a pan / kadai and temper with five spices, red chili, green chili and bay leaf.
* Next add asafoetida and ginger. Stir for few seconds and add potatoes. Cook them on low flame until they are more than half way done. Next add pumpkin, salt, turmeric, chili powder and the cooked black chickpeas to the pan. There is no need to add any water to the pan. 
* Cover and continue cooking until both the vegetables are done, still holding the shape. Stir in sugar.
* Finally stir in bhaja masala and ghee and turn off the stove.

* Serve it warm with luchi / roti or parathas.

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This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon with the theme 'Dry Side Dishes'. Check the link to find out what other marathoners are cooking.

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Monday, May 24, 2021

Vazhakkai Poriyal

Most of the traditional curries cooked on a daily basis in south Indian kitchens are simple and quick preparations. They are served as a side dish to rice and go by different regional names like koora, palya, poriyal, and thoran. An example is this plantain curry aka vazhakkai poriyal that was a part of Tamil Nadu lunch thaali, I posted a while ago. It is a tasty, every day kind of curry that can be prepared with the basic ingredients found in any Indian home. 

The preparation is so common place that one can replace plantain in the recipe with any other vegetable. However it is to be noted that some vegetables may need not need boiling at all and just sautéing is needed. This was the first time I had a plantain curry with such simple flavors, vazhakkai podimas being an exception. We usually add a souring agent like tamarind / lemon juice and jaggery as well in this preparation. It makes a good accompaniment to any south Indian meal.

Some other plantain preparations that I have posted here.
Aava pettina aratikaaya koora (Plantain cooked in mustard base)

Ingredients:
2 plantains (About 2 cups peeled and cubed)
1/8 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tbsp. oil
1 tsp. skinned black gram / urad dal
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 / 2 green chilies or 2 / 3 dried red chilies, broken into bits
A sprig of curry leaves
A pinch of asafoetida
Salt to taste
1/4 cup shredded fresh / frozen coconut 

Directions:
* Peel and cube the plantains. Pressure cook plantain cubes along with enough water and turmeric without turning them into a mush.  
(One or two whistles depending upon the cooker.) Or the plantain cubes can be cooked with enough water on stove-top in a pan or in a microwave just until fork tender but not mushy. Drain all the water used to cook the plantains.
* Heat oil in a kadai / pan and add black gram and mustard seeds. When mustard seeds start to splutter, add chillies, curry leaves and asafoetida. 
* Stir them and add the plantain cubes, salt and coconut and mix them well. (Thaw if using frozen coconut before adding to the curry.) Let them cook on low flame for a couple of minutes and turn off the stove.
* Serve the curry with rice, drizzling a little ghee over it.

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This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon with the theme 'Dry Side Dishes'. Check the link to find out what other marathoners are cooking.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Rajasthan Garlic Chutney / Lehsun ki Chutney

 
This garlic chutney, called lehsun ki chutney / lasan ki chutney is a rustic, flavorful condiment catering to garlic lovers. Obviously garlic bulbs and red chilis are the main ingredients used in the preparation of this fiery accompaniment. Always a part of Rajasthani thaalis, this chutney is quite a simple preparation and can be done in a short time. It can be used as an accompaniment to breakfast dishes / meals / rustic rotis, as a spread for sandwiches or to perk up the dishes like vada pav. It can be stored for a few weeks, when refrigerated.

There is no such thing as a standard version when it comes to garlic chutney preparation and each household has their own favorite recipe. I have seen versions including tamarind / amchur /lemon juice / ginger and other things. Use chilis and chili powder according to your taste. I have seen the chutneys with a darker shade but mine is redder because of the Byadagi chilis I used. I had made this as part of my dal baati churma platter

Recipe source: Here
Ingredients for chutney:
24 garlic cloves
1 heaped tsp. cumin seeds
6 chilis (I used Byadagi variety which gives color and are less spicy,)
1 tsp. spicy chili powder
Salt to taste
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup oil
1 tsp. mustard seeds

Directions:
* Add garlic cloves, cumin seeds, chilis, chili powder and salt to a blender / processor.

* Blend them together to a fine paste adding water.

* Heat oil preferably in a non stick pan and add mustard seeds.

* When they start to splutter, add the ground paste and stir.

* Cook on medium flame, stirring frequently until it thickens, about 10 minutes.
* Cool the mixture and store in a jar. Use as needed and refrigerate the leftover chutney.

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This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon with the theme 'Condiments'. Check the link to find out what other marathoners are cooking.

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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Sorakaaya Pachadi / Andhra Style Bottle Gourd Chutney

Today's condiment is yet another chutney prepared with sorakaya / bottle gourd, Andhra style which is delicious. This is the base recipe I use for most of my chutneys, which is delicious and borrowed from my maternal grandmother's kitchen. One can easily substitute other vegetables (that are usually used in a chutney preparation) like radish, tomato for bottle gourd in the recipe. This style of chutney is usually served as part of a lunch / dinner rather than as an accompaniment to breakfast dishes. It is eaten as first course served with rice and a drizzle of ghee and tastes similar to ridge gourd and chayote chutneys.

Obviously, this is a vegetable based chutney and is vegan. The amount of green chilis used in the recipe depends upon the spiciness preferred in the chutney and how hot the chilis being used are. Add more chilis to the pan than you think are needed if not sure about the heat of the chilies being used. Start with few chilis while grinding the chutney, taste and add extar if needed. A little bit of jaggery can be used in the recipe if preferred. Sometimes I add a pinch of stevia to the recipe. 

Ingredients:
2 cups peeled and chopped bottle gourd 
2 tbsp. oil
2 tsp. skinned black gram / urad dal 
1 tsp. mustard seeds
A pinch of fenugreek seeds (optional)
2 pinches of asafoetida powder
Roughly chopped green chilis as needed (I used 2 spicy ones.)
1/2 tsp. sized tamarind ball
2 pinches of turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp. jaggery (optional and I didn't use.) 

Directions:
* Peel and cube the bottle gourd. Discard the seeds if mature.
* Heat oil in a pan  and add black gram and mustard seeds. When black gram starts to turn golden brown, add fenugreek seeds and stir until they start to change the color. Next add asafoetida and green chilis. Stir for few seconds.
* Then add the chopped bottle gourd cubes, turmeric, tamarind and salt to the pan and stir well.
* Cover and cook on low flame, until done. Stir once or twice in between.
* Turn off the stove when done and let the mixture cool down. Grind the bottle gourd mixture coarsely.
* Transfer the ground chutney to a bowl and serve as a side dish to rice. Leftover chutney can be refrigerated and used within a couple of days.
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This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon with the theme 'Condiments'. Check the link to find out what other marathoners are cooking.

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Monday, May 17, 2021

Cabbage Chutney / Cabbage Pachadi


A piece of paper with recipes scribbled on has been lying in my night stand for years. It had this chutney recipe, mentioned by my sister in law years ago during one of my India trips. I had been skeptical to try cabbage in a chutney recipe all this time though everyone at home loves the vegetable. I got to try it recently as a variation since I have been making instant chutneys almost on a daily basis as the entire family is present for lunches and dinners now, thanks to Covid situation. I am making more and more south Indian style meals and this chutney was made one day for our lunch. I loved this chutney. The 'pronounced' cabbage smell is not present and no one could even guess what chutney it was. This south Indian style pachadi / chutney makes a great accompaniment to rice or even breakfast items. Below is the recipe for this quick and easy cabbage pachadi.

Ingredients:
1 tbsp. oil
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
2 tsp. skinned black gram (urad dal)
1/4 tsp. cumin seeds
1/4 tsp. coriander seeds
6 dried red chilies (The quantity depends upon the heat of the chilies being used and so use with discretion.)
2 pinches of asafoetida powder
1/8 tsp. turmeric powder
3 cups finely chopped cabbage
1/2 tsp. sized tamarind ball
Salt to taste
Ingredients for tempering:
1/2 tsp. oil
1/4 tsp. mustard seeeds
1 sprig of curry leaves
Directions:
* Heat oil in a wide pan and add mustard seeds and black gram. When mustard seeds start to splutter and black gram starts to turn reddish, add cumin and coriander seeds. When the seeds start to turn a shade darker add red chilies, asafoetida and turmeric. Stir and add cabbage, tamarind and salt.
* Mix well once, lower the heat setting, cover and cook. Keep stirring intermittently and cook until the cabbage softens. Remove the pan from heat and let the cabbage mixture come to room temperature.

* Add the mixture to a blender and grind it to a slightly coarser mixture. Add a little water if it is hard to run the blender.

* Heat oil in a small pan and add mustard seeds. When they start to splutter add curry eaves and turn off the stove.
* Add this tempering to the chutney and mix well.
* Serve it along with rice and ghee or as an accompaniment to Indian breakfast dishes.
* Refrigerate the remaining chutney and use within a couple of days.

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This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon with the theme 'Condiments'. Check the link to find out what other marathoners are cooking.

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Wednesday, May 5, 2021

A - Z Idli Series ~ I for Idli (Idli Rice Version)

So far in the series,
Today is the turn for the basic version of idli which happens to be the standard for all the idli variations out there and cherished by South Indians. For the uninitiated, idli is an iconic South Indian breakfast dish which are soft and fluffy steamed cakes. They are prepared using a fermented batter of rice and skinned black gram. This traditional dish is considered to be one of the healthiest breakfasts from the region, easily digestible and fit enough to be prescribed for the ill and convalescing. The dish needs an advanced preparation as the ingredients need to be soaked, ground and then the batter needs to be fermented before steaming it in special moulds. Idlis taste bland on their own. However drizzle some melted ghee over them and dig in with delicious accompaniments like a chutney, usually a coconut based one, a lentil dish called sambhar and spicy lentil powders, thus making it a filling and enjoyable meal for any time of the day. They are obviously gluten free and vegan if you skip the ghee.

My idli turn out super fluffy and soft. To be honest, I grew up watching idli being made around me on a regular basis and I don't fret about the idli preparation. I know however it is a daunting task for those who are not well versed with the process. I tried to explain the process in as much detail as possible here for anyone who needs some tips and the post has turned out to be a lengthy one. Idli making involves four steps - soaking the ingredients, grinding, fermenting and steaming the idlis. Grinding the batter to the correct consistency and it's proper fermentation are the important factors which decides the fate of the idlis. Idli making is an easy task with the modern conveniences we have in the kitchen compared to the olden days when the women had to manually grind the batter in stone grinders and steam on wood / kerosene stoves.
Usually if one lives in a warmer climate like India, soaking the ingredients in the afternoon and grinding it in the evening works fine, if planning for next day's breakfast. My husband's hometown is like a hot oven during summers and so, my mother in law would grind the batter around 9 at night so that the fermented batter would not go sour by morning breakfast time. I live in a cold climate and so my routine in recent years has been to soak the ingredients as soon as I wake up. I grind the ingredients around 11 am and leave the batter in oven with the light on. There are instances where my batter took around 24 hours or more to ferment, during the peak winter time.

Ingredients used in idli preparation:
Idli preparation needs two basic ingredients, skinned black gram / urad dal and rice. Skinned black gram, either whole or split can be used. (My grand mother used to use the whole black gram to make dosas and idlis but it is a pain to sit and rinse off the skins off the soaked beans.) 

Idli rice that is used in the recipe is the short, fat parboiled rice that also goes by the name Salem rice. In lieu of idli rice, idli rava aka cream of rice can be used. In that case soak separately black gram and idli rava. Some use fenugreek seeds / methi and flattened rice / poha as well in the recipe.
 
The black gram and rice proportions used also vary from home to home. The rice used varies from 2 to 4 times the quantity of black gram used. I go with 1:2 ratio whereas my mother uses 1:3 ratio. In Andhra and Karnataka, dosa and idli batters are different but I have noticed that some use the same batter for the both the dishes. 
Step 1 - Soaking the ingredients:
Soaking period is about 4 hours but two minutes are needed to rinse and soak the ingredients. Some soak the ingredients individually but I don't see any merits and soak them together which works fine for me. Rinse them twice thoroughly with water and soak them in enough water so that the water level is higher through out the soaking period. (About 3 hours is enough if using idli rava instead of idli rice and the ingredients are soaked individually in that case.)

Step 2 - Grinding the ingredients:
The ingredients are ground to a smooth batter either in a wet grinder or an Indian style mixer / blender. I have a wet grinder but I prefer grinding in my Oster 14 speed blender which works good for me. (The grinder takes more time than the blender and I hate cleaning the grinder.) I haven't watched the time but the amount of ingredients I mentioned in the recipe can be ground in one batch, which takes around 10 minutes. Don't grind the batter too thick or runny. Too thick batter will not ferment and thin batter will yield flat and not well cooked idlis. Salt can be added while grinding if living in a cold climate and in warmer climates, add salt before steaming the idlis. If using idli rava, grind black gram first, squeeze out the water from the idli rava (that has been soaking in water) and add the rava to the batter and run the blender for a couple of minutes to blend.

Step 3 - Fermenting the batter:
This is the important part of the idli preparation. The ground batter needs to be covered and placed in a warm place to ferment. The time of fermentation depends upon the local weather. It may take around 8 to 10 hours to double that time. Place it in an oven with the light on (without turning the oven on) if living in a cold climate. The yogurt setting in an instant pot works too. The final fermented batter would increase in volume, be airy and have a slightly sour smell to it. If the batter turns out thin for some reason, use it to make dibba rotte instead of idlis. 

Step 4 - Steaming the idlis:
If living in a warm place, salt can be added to the batter at this point. Gently stir the fermented batter a couple of times to uniformly aerate the batter and ladle the batter into greased moulds. If you don't own a idli stand, they can be steamed in small steel cups / glasses. Or even in a steel plate with high edges in a similar fashion to dhokla and cut them into wedges. The idlis can be steamed in a idli cooker, pressure cooker or a steamer. Don't use the safety valve if using a pressure cooker. Steam the idlis on low medium setting and it takes around 20 - 25 minutes on my gas stove to steam them. Moisten your fingers with water and check the top of idli to check whether they are done. They will not stick if done. If the idli top sticks to your moist fingers, then it needs to be steamed further.
Storing the batter and idlis:
I never refrigerate the idli batter but my mother recommends the refrigerated batter to be used within three days. She adds salt only to the portion she is going to use to make idlis and refrigerates the rest of the batter. She leaves the batter on the counter for a while before using it the next time. The refrigerated batter can be used to make again idlis, dibba rotte or ponganalu.
 
I instead usually make a big batch of idlis and freeze as many idlis as I need. (This works if you don't have power cuts in your area.) I cool down the idli immediately after preparation and freeze them to use later. They need to be just warmed in a microwave, covered until hot to enjoy them when needed. 

Ingredients: (Yield - 20 - 22 idlis)
1/2 cup skinned black gram / urad dal
1 cup idli rice
1 & 3/4 tsp. salt or to taste
1 & 1/4 cup water
Ghee to grease the idli moulds and drizzle over idlis while serving

Directions:
* Rinse idli rice, and skinned black gram together and drain. Soak them together in water, in a wide bowl for about 4 - 5 hours and drain the water used to soak completely.
* Grind them together adding salt and water just enough to grind them into a smooth and thick batter. (The salt can be added just before making idlis if living in a warm climate. I add it while grinding since I live in a cold climate and the batter takes longer to ferment.)
* Transfer the batter to a container large enough to hold the fermented batter. (The batter raises while fermenting and so plan accordingly and use a big container.) Cover the container and allow it to ferment overnight (if the batter was ground in the evening) or for about 10 - 12 hours in a warm place. If living in a cold climate, leaving the batter in an oven with the lights on (without turning on the oven) helps. Or use yogurt setting in an instant pot.
* The fermented batter looks like below - thicker than when grounded, airy, and slightly sour smelling.
 
* Heat about 2 cups of water in a idli cooker base or a idli cooker or a steamer on medium heat. 
* Grease the idli moulds with ghee / oil. 
* Gently stir the batter a couple of times with a ladle. 
* Ladle the batter into the idli  moulds carefully without spilling.
* Place the idli stand in the prepared cooker / steamer and close the lid. Don't use the valve for the lid if using a pressure cooker.
* Steam the idlis on low heat setting for about 20 - 25 minutes or until done. (The idlis should not stick when touched with moist fingers.) Check the water level in the steamer base and add extra if needed.
* Wait for about 10 minutes and then remove the idlis by running a spoon around the edges.
* Drizzle melted ghee over the idlis and serve them with a chutney, sambhar and/or spicy podi. Mine were served with roasted gram chutney, sambhar and nalla karam podi.
* Refrigerate the left over idlis and use in a day or two. Or they can be cooled down immediately after preparation and frozen to use later. Nuke them in a microwave, covered and enjoy hot, piping idlis when needed. 
This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon #122 and check the link to find out what other marathoners are cooking.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

A - Z Idli Series ~ H for Halasina Hannina Idli / Halasina Hannina Kadubu (Jackfruit Idlis)

The inspiration for my idli series came from Karnataka cuisine which has a wide range of traditional idli recipes. These jackfruit  idlis are one among the bunch which are commonly prepared in the South Canara region. These idli indeed are unique compared to the other versions tastewise and in terms of preparation. They are usually steamed in envelopes of teak leaves which lend their aroma and color to the dish. In lieu of it, banana leaves are used and of course in absence of both, idli moulds or small cups can be used to make these idlis.

Jackfruit is extensively used in cooking in the coastal areas of Karnataka. It is called halasina hannu in Kannada, pelakayi in Tulu and ponosu in Konkani and so the dish goes by different names. Gujje gatti is a local name. Jackfruit idlis are called halasina hannina kadubu / gatti / idli in Kannada. The names pelata gatti or pelakayi gidde in Tulu allude to teak leaves that are used to steam them. They go by ponsa muddo in Konkani if they are steamed in leaves or else ponsa idli. 
These idlis are a common preparation during the jackfruit season in Mangalore / Udupi areas and the same batter can be used to prepare fritters by adding some extra rice flour. The idlis are usually on a sweet side, redolent with the fruit flavor. Jackfruit is the star ingredient of the dish and one cannot miss either the flavor or the  fragrant aroma of the bulbs in the dish. 

These idlis are made with a batter prepared using rice/rice rava, jackfruit, coconut and jaggery. The amount of jaggery used in the recipe depends upon the sweetness of the jackfruit bulbs used. If jack fruit bulbs are sweeter then less jaggery is used and vice versa but it should be noted that these idlis are on a sweeter side. I used tinned jack frit bulbs which were sweet. The jackfruit idlis can be prepared using either rice or rice rava / idli rava or even toasted semolina. I have used rice rava here. If using rice, it needs to be soaked for a couple of hours and then ground into a slightly coarse paste.
These idlis are served for breakfast along with coffee with no side dishes or served with just some ghee / honey. I enjoyed them on their own. The extras can be refrigerated and should be finished with in a day or two. They can be frozen as well as I have done. Just nuke them in a microwave when needed in a microwave safe dish, covered and they come out soft and piping hot.

Ingredients: (Yield - about 10 idli)
2 cups jackfruit pieces
1/2 cup shredded fresh coconut 
1 cup jaggery, powdered (or adjust as needed)
2 cardamom pods
A pinch of salt
3/4 cup rice rava / idli rava (Fine cracked rice)
2 - 3 tbsp. water 
Ghee to grease the idli plates

Directions:
* Add jackfruit pieces, coconut, jaggery, cardamom and salt together to a blender / food processor.
* Blend the ingredients together to a paste.
 * Add rice rava to the bowl and just pulse to combine. (If using soaked rice instead of rava, drain the water completely from the rice and add it to the jackfruit puree. Blend it into slightly coarse paste without adding water.)
* Transfer the rice rava - jackfruit mixture to a bowl. Cover and keep it aside for about 20 - 30 minutes.
* The mixture should be thicker than the regular idli batter. However if the mixture appears too thick after the resting period, add a few tbsp. of water to the bowl and mix well. (I added about 2 tbsp. of water.)
* Heat water in a idli cooker / pressure cooker / steamer base on medium heat.
* Grease the idli plates and fill them with the jackfruit batter. Place the idli stand in the steamer and close the lid. Don't use the pressure valve if using pressure cooker.

* On low medium flame. steam for about 20 minutes or until when the surface of the idlis don't stick when touched with moist fingers. Turn off the stove and let sit for about 10 minutes.
* Run a sharp spoon around the edges of idlis and remove the idlis. 
* They can be served plain or with ghee or honey. Serve them warm for breakfast along with coffee.
This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon #122 and check the link to find out what other marathoners are cooking.

Monday, May 3, 2021

A - Z Idli Series ~ G for Greengram Idli

So far in this idli series,
D for Dal Idli

I have started a 'A - Z' Idli' series last month and it's turn for the alphabet G today. For the uninitiated, idli is an iconic breakfast dish from the south Indian cuisine, made with a fermented batter of rice and skinned black gram. Idlis taste bland on their own but make a delicious meal when served along with a chutney (usually a coconut based one), sambhar - a lentil preparation and podi - a spicy lentil powder.

Today's idli is a protein rich and nutritious option for breakfast which I prepared on a whim sometime ago using my pesarattu batter. I have always felt that pesarattu is something that you either love or hate. These green gram based pancakes from Andhra are mostly loved in the coastal regions than the rest of the state. I have no problems with pesarattu whereas my husband is not a great fan of those. Why I am mentioning it here is that it applies to these idlis as well. If one doesn't mind pesarattu then these greengram idlis taste fine as well since the batter used in both cases is the same one. My husband surprisingly did not mind the flavor of these idlis.
Here is another version of green gram idli that I posted a while ago that contains rice and black gram as well. These idlis were made with just green gram alone and no rice / idli rava or black gram went into the preparation. In this version, the green gram is soaked for a few hours and then ground with ginger, chillies and salt. The batter needs no fermentation, making this idli an instant version. The green gram can be soaked previous night and ground in the morning for breakfast. Stir in Eno's fruit salt into the batter just before preparing idlis.  

These guilt-free idlis are obviously healthy, gluten-free and diabetic-friendly.  Grease the idli moulds with oil instead of ghee, if following vegan diet. They make a filling and enjoyable meal when served along with chutney and sambhar. 

Ingredients: (Yield - 12 idlis)
1 cup green gram / sabut moong / pesalu
1 inch piece of ginger
2 green chilies
Salt to taste 
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. fruit salt / 1 Eno's sachet
Ghee / oil for greasing the idli moulds
Directions:
* Rinse and soak green gram for about 3 to 4 hours in sufficient water.
* Drain the water used to soak the green gram. 
* Grind the soaked green gram, ginger and chili in a blender, adding a few tablespoons of water if needed. (I added 2 tbsp. of water to grind the ingredients.)
* Transfer the ground batter to a container. Add salt and cumin seeds to the batter and stir to combine.
* Grease the idli plates with ghee / oil. 
* Heat water in an idli cooker / pressure cooker base or in a steamer.
* Add fruit salt to the batter and sprinkle some water over it. Gently stir the mixture to incorporate the fruit salt into the batter. (Add fruit salt just before steaming idlis.)
* Spoon the batter into the greased idli moulds and place the idli stand in the cooker / steamer and close the lid. Don't use the pressure valve if using pressure cooker. 
* Steam on low medium flame for about 20 minutes or until done. (When you touch the tops of idlis with moist fingers, the idlis should not stick.)
* Wait for about 5 to 10 minutes and remove the idlis by running a spoon around the edges. 
* Drizzle a spoon of ghee over the idlis and serve with chutney and/or sambhar.
This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon #122 and check the link to find out what other marathoners are cooking.